Ford workers blast union over bid to merge seven branches at Dagenham factory

Ford workers have criticised the Unite union over its plans to merge an iconic branch that spearheaded the fight for equal pay for women in the Sixties.

Unite activists lambasted their trade union over proposals to turn seven branches at the factory into a “superbranch” including LE/667, which organised the 1968 strike depicted in the film Made in Dagenham.

The sewing machinist strike paved the way for the Equal Pay Act 1970, which obliges companies to give the same wages and benefits to male and female staff.

Unite said the 800-member unit, launched in 1945, would remain as a “retired members’ branch” but its secretary Fred Creamer believes it will have no effective power.

Mr Creamer, 61, said: “A retired members’ branch is where retired members go.

“It won’t have the same impact as the other one.We’re probably one of the most active branches on the Dagenham estate.

“What a trade union is there for is to look after the interest of members.

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“What they have offered us is a sop to try to shut us up.”

Unite management said restructuring the branches would make the union more effective and stronger at the factory in Chequers Lane.

A Unite spokesman said: “Branch LE/667 is not being closed. Ford’s seven union branches are being restructured.

“The union intends that there will be a continuing future for the LE/667 branch.

“There is a reorganisation of workplace representation across the whole union including Ford, to enable Unite to represent its members more effectively at work.”